The Asian-Pacific American Council (APAC) of Georgia presents the 33rd annual Unity Gala to mark the month of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
By Anna Kim
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian-Pacific American community is one of the fastest growing and most diverse populations in the country, composed of 45 distinct ethnicities and 28 language groups.
It has been noted that Asian-Pacific Americans have impacted all aspects of life in the U.S.A., especially art, culture, sciences, government affairs, business, education, and philanthropy.
The State of Georgia, home to 300,000 residents of Asian-Pacific American heritage, recognized Asian American educators, small business owners, government administrators and more, marking May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month.
Nathan Deal, the Governor of Georgia, officially proclaimed May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
“We celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific found here in the United States,” stated Gov. Deal. “We also recognize millions of Asian-Pacific Americans whose hard work and love of family and community have helped sustain us as a nation.”
Supporting the Governor’s proclamation, the Asian-Pacific American Council of Georgia (APAC-GA) hosted the 33rd annual gala on the 12th of May at Sonesta Gwinnett Place in Duluth, where 15 organizations participated in the event to celebrate the splendid features of Asian heritage.
This year’s theme was, “The Many Faces of All Americans.”
“The annual gala is the only event that involves all groups and presents its best to celebrate the unity of all Asian Pacific Americans,” said Sopheap Lam, President of APAC, 2018. “We coordinate, participate, and assist member organizations’ events in the celebration of its heritage and charity works to its own ethnic community and beyond.”
Georgia House Rep. Pedro Marin, Executive Director Gwinnett CID Joe Allen, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta Vincent Jing-Yen Liu, Superior Court Judge of Georgia Meng Lim and more were presented as guest speakers for the gala.
Notably, Judge Meng Lim ran for judicial office as a superior court judge. He ran against three other candidates in a contested election in 2014. When he won, he became the first Asian American superior court judge in the State of Georgia. He will begin his second term, unopposed, in 2019, and this July he will be the Chairperson for the Judicial Section of the State Bar.
Brilliant cultural performances livened up the atmosphere and the spruced-up performers put on heart-wrenchingly beautiful performances. All in all, CPACS’ traditional wild drum performance and KAAGA’s traditional dance were unsurpassed. All of the participants were greatly in the mood for a melody and were enthralled by the glorious Asian heritage.
The main focus of APAC’s annual gala has been to provide a scholarship program for college bound high school students in various Asian communities. APAC’s scholarship program has contributed to instilling a sense of accomplishment and pride to the next generation.
This year, a total of 9 students were selected from the various participating organizations, and they were granted scholarships ranging from $500 - $1000. For a Korean student beneficiary, Charlotte Lee Kim, who is a senior at Peachtree Ridge High School, will pursue a higher education at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, in the fall of 2018, was recommended by Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta (KAAGA). Her volunteer activities feature Atlanta Mission Sisters House and YESANA Mission. 3 other awardees were granted Eric Lu Special Award and the Farmer Basket Scholarship. The total of 12 winners were encouraged by enthusiastic and cordial applause.
Effectively, APAC’s missions have converged into a scholarship program, which has contributed to the enhancement of Asian power.
“It is a good sign to see that Asian youth engagement in the event has been increasing every year,” said Charlie Yoon Kim, past president of APAC, 2006. “We will continue to pat our children on the back for their achievements and excellence. We believe the recognition and awards would be their first steps in pursuing their American dream.”
Past presidents of APAC are being recognized by the attendees.
Georgia House Rep. Pedro Marin reads out the Proclamation of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, officially proclaimed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Combodian Peacock Dance.